Christmas Morning & Adana's Pecan Tarts

 Merry Christmas Everyone!  It has been a beautiful morning here in our little cottage.  The paper whites planted several weeks ago bloomed just in time.
 Others are just getting started...................................
 The gifts have all been opened...............................
The Pecan Tarts - baked and consumed................................................. 
The Christmas Ham is in the oven - time to set the table...........................
with the little stockings and the bird place card holders from Nandina....................

 the bronze S&P shakers from Michael Aram acquired with a gift certificate given to me last Christmas from my darling husband for Charleston Street ........ one of my favorite places to shop.................
 later we will have tea and cookies.............................
 but first..........time for a little Champagne!!!!!
Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman

Adana's Pecan Tarts

 Adana Whyte shared this recipe with me 25 years ago.  I've  made them nearly every Christmas since.

For the Pastry

1 cup flour (I substitute Gluten Free All Purpose Flour)
3 oz softened Cream Cheese
1 Stick softened Butter

Blend together to form a soft dough.  Roll into a ball and place in the refrigerator for a least one hour.  Remove and roll into 24 small (3/4") balls.  Use the dough to line mini muffin tins by pushing the dough into place with your fingers.


3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
pinch of salt
2/3 cup chopped Pecans

Cover bottom of pastry shell with Pecans.  Fill shells with the Brown Sugar mixture.  Complete by putting pecans on top.

Bake in a preheated oven at 325 for 25-30 minutes.

Landon presenting Nana with a gift certificate from Gramps - Christmas 2012                                                  



 Posole is a traditional Mexican dish usually served on Christmas Eve.  When we lived in Santa Fe, our
friends, the Gregg's, would throw a big party on Christmas Eve and make huge pots of Posole and Green Chile Stew, another Santa Fe favorite.

 Softly falling snow, pinon logs burning in the kiva fireplace and luminarias set the scene.  A chile/broth based soup/stew,  Posole is a perfect crowd pleaser.   The recipe calls for dried red chile pods but you could substitute red chile powder if needed.  The posole or mixtamal is simply  dried corn.  Frozen or canned white hominy can be used instead.
 Garnish with limes, avocado, cabbage, radishes and green onions.

Click on the recipe to enlarge.  This recipe is a combination of two from Santa Fean Patricia Greathouse.
Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
                  Feliz Navidad Magazine - The Santa Fe New Mexican
                  Recipe - Patricia Greathouse


The Stockings Were Hung..........................

 For the last couple of years, I haven't done much in the way of decorating for Christmas.  We were in the middle of a fireplace/living/dining room facelift last year at the Georgia house and for the last two years we have spent Christmas out of town with our family.  I realized that I didn't have that many Christmas decorations at this house.  I can never remember what is where these days!
 With the fireplace now finished, I needed some stockings but wasn't inclined to go out and buy some.
I collect textiles and beautiful fabrics and have never been able to bring myself to throw out a cashmere sweater, even if it is too small or has holes in it, so I dug out some of the winter white ones and an Angora/wool sweater that had been accidently washed and dried and was therefore felted.  Perfect for making stockings.
The stockings made - they were in need of trim.  Ever wonder what to do with that 50 year old fur coat that you inherited, but wouldn't ever consider wearing?
To make full use of the sweaters - I cut the sleeves off, sewed one end closed, stuffed them with poly fill, sewed up the other end to make boot stuffers.

Photos By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman


December Morning in the Garden

While half of the country is getting ready for a deep freeze this evening, Camellia flowers are blooming in my garden.

The Japanese Maple turned a brilliant orange seemingly overnight.  The color enhanced by the morning rain.  Everything else is still green.  One of the many things I love about the South.



Ancho Chile & Apple Cider Brined Turkey

Ancho Chile & Apple Cider Brined Turkey and Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping
Fall colors at my house in the hills and two of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping

Brining seasons the bird all the way through and makes the meat tender and moist while the skin is nice and crispy.

Ancho Chile and Apple Cider Brined Turkey
Brining Bag
20 pound turkey, giblets removed, washed and drained
Heaping 1/3 cup ground ancho chile (about 8 stemmed and seeded dried chiles)
12 large garlic cloves
4 cored and chunked golden delicious apples
1 gallon water, divided
1 gallon organic apple juice or cider
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup dark brown sugar or molasses

Put chile, garlic, apples, a cup of water and two cups of cider in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into a larger bowl and add the water, apple juice, salt and brown sugar or molasses: stir until salt and sugar dissolve.
Pour into brining bag or non-reactive pot that turkey just fits in.  Add turkey.  Brine in refrigerator for 20 hours.  Rinse and dry.  Continue to refrigerate if not roasting right away.  Turkey may be brined two days before roasting.  Remove from refrigerator an hour before putting in the oven.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Place turkey in large, low sided baking pan, tie legs together if desired, tent with aluminum foil and place in oven.  Bake for one hour and remove foil and finish baking until a thermometer reads 155 degrees in deepest part of thigh (USDA recommends 165 degrees for safety.)  Let turkey rest at least twenty minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Pie with Pecan Praline Topping

1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar

1 Tbs. Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/4 tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves
2 Cups Pumpkin Puree
3 eggs
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1/3 Cup Milk

Pre baked and cooled deep-dish piecrust

In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves.  add the pumpkin, eggs, cream and milk and whisk to combine.

Pour the filling into the pre baked piecrust and bake until the center is set, 60 to 65 minutes at 350 degrees, covering the edges of the crust with aluminum foil after 30 minutes if they brown too quickly.

Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely, at least 2 hours, before serving.

Praline Topping

3 Tbs. Butter

1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
1 Cup Chopped Pecans
1/4 tsp. Salt

Melt butter, then add the other ingredients.  Bring to boil then lower to a simmer for 5 minutes.  Cool, then pour over pie while topping is still warm.  Spread to cover the pie, then let sit for 30 minutes until topping is totally cooled before cutting pie.  Serve with Whipped Cream.



Happy Halloween!!!

I took my Grandson Landon to the Pumpkin Fest this year.  First he had to paint his pumpkin at home.  (He also painted the outdoor cushions and the dog)
The animals had to be fed......................

A woman standing next to me said "He is just pure joy."  My feelings exactly, as he is the absolute light of my life and brings me pure joy like I've never felt before.


Paris Market

Great place to shop in Savannah.

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